Woohoo! This week’s topic comes from angelicad7 from Chicago, who asks

Is there a Korean product(s) you cannot live without and thought “Why wasn’t this introduced back home?”

Yay! Easy topic! We barely had to put any thought into this one. With the more serious topics, like the ones on Homosexuality in Korea or Bullying in Korean Schools, we really have to reflect for a long time about what we’re going to say. But, with this week’s topic, we felt like PFFT! Just turn on the camera and we’ll start yammering.

Seriously, Korea’s a really freaking cool country when it comes to technology. And we’re technology nerds, so this makes us very happy. Yes, we’re Apple fans as well, and – yes – Korea isn’t very Apple friendly, though it’s gotten a lot better since we got here with many more Apple retailers popping up. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if we own any Samsung products here in Korea. Note to potential Samsung Marketing People reading this blog: send us Samsung stuff. Also, don’t read the next sentence. Actually, we just remembered that our TV is Samsung. Nevermind!

Anyhow, the amount of technology here, and the connectivity of Korea is just overwhelmingly awesome. We mentioned a few of our favourite things in this video, but that’s just scraping the surface. Other awesomeness includes:

1) GPS in every car: It doesn’t come built in, but every car we’ve been in has a GPS monitor thingy on the dashboard. It gives you full directions, monitors your speed and lets you know if you’re going over the speed limit for that road, automatically detects if you’ve gone off course and tells you where to turn instead, blinks and flashes and makes noise if your turn is coming up. Oh, and it plays TV for you as well. Watch the game while you’re driving. No joke. These things should probably be illegal, but aren’t, probably because they’re so awesome.

2) Kickass Cellphone Signal: I have never dropped a call in Korea. NEVER. Rarely ever does the signal go fuzzy. Seriously. Even when we’re on the subway, UNDERGROUND. Do you hear that, Torontonians? We can use our cellphones when we’re on the subway, even if we’re at the bottom of a transfer point, with two other subway lines above us. We never lose signal. Not even a freaking blip. Oh, and people can watch TV on their phones as well. Holy crap-your-pants awesome

3) Robo Vacuums: We don’t have one yet, but we want one. I remember watching the CES this year, and seeing a video about a Samsung vacuum that has a camera built into it, so that it maps your ceiling and knows where it’s going. The video was all like “oooh this is awesome and the future” bla bla blah. Went to the Home Plus nearby the next day and saw it on sale. Old news here, boys and girls. Old news.

4) Bidets: Not a fan of them, personally. Don’t want water spraying up my bum hole. But we’ve seen tons of them here, even in public restrooms. TOILET TECHNOLOGY!

5) Motion Sensor Escalators: Haven’t seen these until we came to Korea. A lot of escalators have motion detectors. They turn off if no-one’s on them. If you’re about to get on one and it’s turned off, you pass a motion-sensor thingy that tells the escalator to turn on. FREAKING BRILLIANT!

6) Elevator Buttons that Turn Off: How is this not a standard around the world? Push a button on the elevator by accident? TURN IT OFF! Doesn’t this just make sense? Hell!

Ok that’s it. Maybe there’s more but we can’t think of it right now. I’m sure the question was expecting an answer more along the lines of what we showed in our Wonderful Treasure Finds series, but we never got the chance to gush about Korean technology. Not sure why Korea doesn’t promote that more. Korea Tourism seems to be all about “Come look at our mountains and temples and history and old traditions and stuff.” Forget that. I want to live in the future, and Korea’s offering me the closest chance at that.

Yeah! Also, there was a long scene that we found hilarious, but too long, and too irrelevant to include in the final cut. We present it to you here: here we are trying to call the cops…on each other.


  1. Where did you buy your egg? Do you have to have a contract with a company?

  2. What do Koreans think of tipping your waitress in the United States? If they have visited and experienced by eating in a restaurant here, or maybe been told by another Korean our custom how do they feel? I love the 4g box, and glad we have it here. Yep, keys should be obsolete in the 21st century. So many other alternatives. I’m sure you’ve been notified that cards now can be paid by waving over a box if you have the card capable of doing it.

  3. What are your favorite Korean Variety shows?

  4. Fastest internet in the WORLD?!?!?!?!?
    *gets on plane* SK HERE I COME!!! :D

  5. Table Bell…AWESOME!!!  Usually when they come to the table to see how everything is…they almost ALWAYS approach while you have a full mouth!!!  HATE that.   Card Waving Payment System…I LOVE the follow-up text message.  Fabulous!

  6. america sucks at using technology

  7. the only downside about keypad is if the electricity was ever to go out. you could not get in :-/
    Card is pretty cool.

  8. *sounds of intense weeping seeping through internet* Guise……I knew you already had the fastest internet in the entire PLANET, but now you’re waving your hotspot…..egg…..*pulls mind out of gutter* and my inner evil Gremlin is coming forth. D': COME ON AMERICA! GET WITH IT!  PLEEEEASE!!! argh. The hotspots we can get here (as far as I know) are still way to expensive for me to handle. (my sis has one….and the internet kinda sucks on it) Anyways……*offers watery congrats on your new favorite toy*

  9. we have those escalator thingy’s at pearson…as for cell signals in the subway, there’s been speak of it, dunno if it’s gonna come through though

    sorry to my fellow torontonians, but seoul makes toronto look like, how do i put this lightly, a third-world city (and an overpriced one at that…got the shock of my life when i found out that it just cost me 2$ to take a bus to a city outside seoul the same distance hamilton is from TO)

  10. they do have the bells in yhis koren restaurant in north America

  11. Not really a product per se, but something that will be VERY hard to go back to when I return to the US next month: CHECKS (or as some people spell it, cheques).  They don’t use them here in Korea.  If you want to give someone money, you just go to your ATM and transfer money into his/her account.  You can even do it online.  How awesome is that?

  12. basically almost every ASIAN countries have all the cool products that u mentioned… ASIAN RULES!!!! have i’m from Malaysia and we, ASIAN are so futuristics!!!

  13. I’m from Montreal, and last year I went to Berlin for two weeks to study german. Guess what, the keys to my little studio were just like those awesome magnetic keys =0 It was so small I could put it in my pocket, and it was working with all three doors of the block I was living in! Omg when I came back to Canada I was so angry when I found back my stupid (yet enormous) keychain –” Soooo big, with 4 keys looking all the same, and so noisy! First reaction? : “aish chincha…”

  14. they have bells in America! && they now have that card swiper thing for like american express i think or some company! i’m not sure about that hotspot thing but i want one!

    What are the style trends in korea? 

  15. When I was in Tampa they had that bell thingy in Applebees!!

  16. I miss my PHONE~!!!
    Had a Lollipop (yes Big Bang influence my decision ^ ^)  The self activating alarm for personal defense, being able to self-call to get out of awkward situations, ability to program what time a text will be sent… and it was CUTE~~
    why can’t phones here do that?? Korea makes 1/2 our phones it seems anyways.

  17. As another commenter already said, it’s very similar to Japan (and I’m pretty sure we have the egg-thingie because I think I saw advertisements for it), but sometimes, when those things aren’t there, I get really flustered. Family restaurants without a bell? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? CALL SOMEONE? I really wonder why some of these things haven’t been implemented back in Europe already…
    The thing that always gets me back in Germany is the trains. In Tokyo, the doors open automatically, in Berlin you have to press a button. I’d stand in front of it for 5 seconds, with people coming up behind me, until I’d remember to press it. Awkward.

  18. Ahh.. wish we had table bells in England, the service would be a lot quicker.

  19. wow, we have everything else you mentioned in Japan, but it’s my first time hearing about the “egg” thing. that’s REALLY cool!

    i loled a bit about your story of getting locked going home. my retarded technology moment is when i went home and i was standing in front of a store, waiting for the door to open, til i realized it wasn’t an automatic door… lol. in japan, there are automatic doors everywhere :p

  20. the bell thing is in quite a few restaurant in my area (korean restaurant lol)… yeah i think they brought it over from korea.

    The bank card thing, they’re working on it, there’s quite a bit of different bank in america where it’s very hard to unite them all together (I mean some place still doesn’t take certain cards, it’s pretty crazy).

    The little 4g thing, the tech savy people just use their phone and tether (that device is essentially the same thing but it’s got more output), 10 bucks a month in korea is essentially about 20 in the US since the salary is roughly 1/2 on average, which is still really good, people here pay around 20-30 for internet on their phone…

    all of which, i think the 4g device is very useful if there’s no bandwith cap (aka you don’t have to get internet for the home, just use that little suckka, 10 bucks a month is hella cheap)…

    a lot of the stuff in korea is more advance because it’s easier to run new wires and tech in a country where the area is roughly 1/100 the size of the US (your next example is japan, they’re pretty high tech too :))

  21. Yeah, I’m a big fan of the bank card capabilities.  For some of the stuff here in Korea, I can’t imagine why we don’t have some of that stuff back in the US.
    Also, I did a internet speed test of my broadband here and showed my tech-geek friends; they were super jealous.  And yes, South Korea officially has the world’s fastest internet.  I won’t be able to get over that if/when I move back to the US.

    Does anybody know how to get the 4G Egg and how to add it onto your current phone plan in South Korea?  I really want one so I can FaceTime with my friends and family when I’m out in the middle of East Field Jesus Nowhere.

  22. Here in Brazil (aside of what I’ve already replied to someone xD) I can talk on the subway (actually, it depends on which company you use), BUT sometimes I’m home and it goes fuzzy FUUU

  23. When I was in Japan they had most of this stuff….except for the EGG!!! That would have been so friggin helpful!!! They have no wifi in Starbucks unless you are a Softbank customer….grrr…..on another note the bidets scared me….o-O….honestly though the waitress/waiter thing was the best thing ever….I could just sit back and chill and not have any annoying person come over and ask me crap while I had food in my mouth….beautiful….

  24. I like the table bells, but my experience over the past 3 months here never had the waiter leave you alone waiting in the back.  They often not-so-discretely watch you from a distance and snatch up your drink to refill when it falls to 1/4 full.  Great service, especially with no tip, but take some getting used to.

  25. People have probably already mentioned this, but we do have phones that people can watch TV on, and robo-vacuums.(in America at least) Robo-vacuums have been around for quite awhile, although they don’t map out your ceiling, instead they use motion-sense technology.

    On another note, I concur, Korea is very technologically advanced and amazing. But…does it have beef jerky or ranch? XD

  26. A couple years ago my family and I were eating at a really nice resturant in Chicago and there were a few priviate booths that had a buzzer to get the waiter’s attention.

  27. I live in Brazil and here have tables’ bell! It is so amazing no? Unlike it is in Canada, where you can die waving your hand to someone come and take your order. So the bell is something very useful.

    Btw, I didn’t get this werid key thing you talked about… 

  28. That bank card is similar to the card in Hong Kong.. Whenever we take a ride in the bus we just wave it in the machine. And the card in HK is called octopus.. O.O

  29. The calgary airport has sensor escalators! they don’t turn off, but they go extra slow, so when you walk up to it your like “… I might miss my flight if i take that…” but then it goes normal speed when you get on! keke just noticed that the other day XD

    Dude, that is why I hate eating out, people(waitfolk) are always like “botherbotherbotherbother” and i’m just like “Can I eat my food with friends without being interrupted by strangers?!?!?”OHMYGOSH! I knew that they had that swipey technology with the phones, BUT CARDS TOO?!?!?! that is awesome.According to the UN, (S) Korea has the best internet.. IN THE WORLD!! I would totally go for the internet. My brother who is a computer dork read an article about it a couple years ago and was like “OMYGOSH I WANNA GO THERE!!” and I was like “me too”

  30. The number keypad is in Ontario too. I’ve seen it in some houses in Ottawa. It’s awesome, the only problem is if the batteries are dead and you don’t have a key. Then it just makes a weird noise and you’re locked out. :(

  31. they have the table bell in Gengis Khan restaurant in Markham :)

  32. I wish we had table buttons. That way you could also get the attention of the server that is standing in the back laughing at you while you’re choking to death because you ran out of iced tea halfway through your meal and they just up and went on break or something. (OK, I’m done ranting now, Hee) The bank card thing would also rock…alot.

  33. They have those table bells at Korean Restaurants in Annandale, VA! I wondered what it was!

  34. can you guys do the cinnamon challenge? pweeeeeeeez. 

  35. Like someone else said, the restaurant call buttons are in our local Korean restaurants too, though I’ve only used it once because we’re extremely patient… and sometimes shy. xD;;
    We loved the motion-sensored escalators, and I like that some buses ran on electricity. I’d love to see these everywhere~

  36. I went to Taiwan recently and my uncle also had this huge GPS that we were watching TV on. Definitely not in *every* car, but I thought it was new and interesting. They’ve probably had it in Korean for longer though…

  37. This all sounds so awesome… I really wish we had all these things here too! 

    I have seen the table bell, but as everyone said it’s in a Korean restaurant. When I went with friends before, we were scared to press the button because we thought it might be like an emergency situation bell and were waiting for the waiter to come and check on us. xD Now I’ll be able to press the button guilt-free!

    Now I wonder if I’m stupid to tip there? It is a Korean restaurant, but in the US we tip……

  38. I’m sorry if I missed someone else asking, but where did you get the Wifi egg?  That seems like it’d be the most useful thing ever. 

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